2012 US Mountain Bike Grand Prix – MTB GP #2 – Sugarbush, VT

2012 US Mountain Bike Grand Prix (MTBGP #2) at Sugarbush, VT

The US Grand Prix of Mountain Biking headed to Northern Vermont this weekend for Round 2 at Sugarbush Resort.

Welcome to Vermont

Long a host to regional and local races this was the first time America’s best downhillers would descend upon Sugarbush, VT. Sugarbush is a clasic New England style track and as a brand new venue to the MTBGP it did not disappoint.  Pro attendance was impressive given the proximity and timeliness of the coming world cup events.

Keene is quite keen on this trail and went on to take 5th by the end of the week

Fast, open ski slope turns at the start sent riders into the first of several sections of loamy woods where the rooty and rocky corners were broken up by bomb holes and steeper bits with more roots and rocks.

Great terrain for racing and riding alike

Greeted with rave reviews by the riders for its terrain, the track was surely one of the prettiest in recent memorie as well with vibrant Spring flowers covering the open slopes.

Leif navigates through

Jason Memmelaar is no stranger to danger or the East Coast and he found himself at home on the Sugarbush course.

Jason Memmelaar looking to get it done on the East Coast

Riders found time to let loose and unwind in the beautiful weather. Specialized USA rider Brad ‘Goldilocks’ Benedict found some time to borrow Lauren Daney’s cruiser for some fun in the berms.

Brad rallys Daney's cruzer

Though with a stacked pro field and a large cash purse up for grabs no one seemed too keen on admiring the view on the way down except the photographers like Matt Delorme.

Matt searches for berries during the long practice days

Saturday’s qualifying round saw Justin Leov of Trek World Racing take the top spot with a 3:32 despite a brief off-track excursion. He was follwed closely by teammate Neko Mulally and Mitch Ropelato from the Specialzed squad.

Jesse Beare came all the way from Australia to sample some of the East Coast races this season and participate in the Monte Saint Anne and Windham World Cup races.

Jesse Beare

For the women, current Pro GRT frontrunner Lauren Daney of DRD-Intense once again topped the field going into Sundays final.

Lauren Daney takes the win for the Pro Women

After an evening of swimming holes and pump track sessions riders took to the hill Sunday morning to try and find extra seconds out of the track.

Nate Furbee found his way out here, where were you?

No one found more seconds than Lauren Dany among the women and she once again claimed the top spot in the finals, making it 3 wins in a row for the young DRD-Intense Team rider.

Pro Women Podium

Joanna Peterson came in second folled closely by Specialized USA rider Katie Holden would take third.

Pro Women:
1st Lauren Daney 4:16.39
2nd Joanna Peterson 4: 18.65
3rd Katie Holden 4:22.41
4th Kristen Courtney 4:36.75
5th Stephanie Sowles 4:43.15

Katie Holden would go on to take 3rd place in the Pro Women field

Mitch would go on to take 2nd and will be representing Monster Energy-Specialized at MSA and Windham WC

For the men, Ropelato took an amazing 14 seconds off his qualifying time and his 3:26.57 looked untouchable until the final rider, New Zealand’s Justin Leov, found 8 second amongst the loam and roots to post the winning time of 3:24.85.

Justin Leov wins , Neko 3rd.

This was the first win of the season for the Trek World Racing rider who is looking to build momentum heading into the next two World Cup rounds.

Pro Men Podium

3rd place went to Trek World Racing’s Neko Mulally, followed closedly by 17-year-old Austin Warren of DRD-Intense in 4th , and Specialized USA veteran Curis Keense rounded out the podium in 5th.

Final Results
Pro Men:
1st Justin Leov 3:24.85
2nd Mitch Rolepato 3:26.57
3rd Neko Mulally 3:29.75
4th Austin Warren 3:31.72
5th Curtis Keene 3:32.43

17yr old Austin Warren - DRD Intense

The US Grand Prix of Mountain Biking will remain in New England for Round 3 on July 6-8th at Highland Mountain Bike Park in New Hampshire.  Visit mtbgp.com for the full schedule.

View more pictures in the gallery:

2012 MTB GP #2 Sugarbush